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Central American Headwear

Beverly Chico

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

Central America includes seven countries: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. A tropical jungle covers eastern sections of Honduras and Nicaragua along the “Mosquito Coast.” Geography has influenced the development of clothing and headwear in this region. After the Spanish arrived in the 1500s, Europeans began dominating local inhabitants, using them as miners, farm laborers, or for maritime trade. Slaves were also transported from Africa and the West Indi

Maya Dress and Fashion in Guatemala

Barbara Knoke de Arathoon and Rosario Miralbés de Polanco

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

Maya or indigenous dress, or traje, as well as the many weavings that are an integral part of both daily and ceremonial life, embody multiple, complex, and ambivalent types of symbolism. Any attempt to present an overview can easily become a simplistic endeavor. Traje and textiles are silent but eloquent expressive forms conveying multiple meanings, especially by women, as they are the principal medium through which ethnic identity is transmitted and constructed. This identity is shaped at indivi

Clothing and Identities in the Eyes of Women Comalapan Painters of Guatemala

Linda Asturias de Barrios

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

There is a relationship between weaving and clothing and painting about “who we are” in Comalapa, Guatemala. A particular group of Guatemalan Mayan women have transposed weaving skills into the painting of canvas with oil paints and have made a contribution to national, ethnic, and gender debates by means of painting with the soul of Mayaness, womanhood, motherhood, and the eyes and hands of backstrap-loom weavers.

Spanish Influences in Maya Clothing of Guatemala

Olga Arriola de Geng

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

With the arrival of Spanish colonization, the Maya of Guatemala—mainly the men, because they were in closer contact with the colonial Spanish world—were forced to modify their clothing. The new garments were copied and adapted from Spanish fashion, which was worn in those days by farmers, craftsmen, and other members of the working class who had arrived from Spain. The men adopted the shirt and the zaragüelles or breeches (zaragüelles are a type of wide breeches, used in Valencia and Murcia, in w

The Maya of Tecpán, Guatemala

Carol Hendrickson

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

While much can be written about Guatemalan traje (Maya dress) in general, the Maya experience of dress should always be understood in the context of specific social conditions, historical frames, and cultural meanings. In the case of one municipality—TecpánGuatemala—it is useful to consider the issues that Tecpanecos (residents of Tecpán) experience, talk about, and act upon daily in relation to Maya dress. Late-twentieth-century and early-twenty-first-century fashion in Maya dress, notably the h

Southern Maya Dress of Southwestern Guatemala

Matthew Looper

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The Mam (Maya) people living in various communities in the department of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, wear traditional attire reflecting gender roles and social interactions. As elsewhere in the Maya area, the Quetzaltenango Mam’s dress traditions differ markedly from that of ladinos (non-Maya). Traditional indigenous clothing—traje in Spanish—comprises combinations of garments having a particular structure and style. Trajes generally vary according to municipality of origin, although certain featu

Visualizing Difference: The Rhetoric of Clothing in Colonial Spanish America

Mariselle Meléndez

Source: The Latin American Fashion Reader 2005

Book chapter

Walter Mignolo observes that the lack of writing along with the lack of clothing and cannibalism constituted three crucial elements often used in the construction of Amerindian images: “Not having it yet or having it in excess were two cognitive moves used by Europeans in constructing the identity of the self-same by constructing at the same time, the image of the other” (Mignolo 1992: 312). Written as well as visual texts usually contrasted the nakedness of the indigenous people with the presenc

Maya Traditions: A Weaving Cooperative

Jane Mintz

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

Maya Traditions, a U.S. fair trade business and Guatemalan nonprofit organization, evolved as an effort to preserve the tradition of Maya backstrap weaving and renew the demand for and the production of high-quality indigenous textiles while improving the living situation of Maya women in rural highland villages.

The Huipil of Guatemala

J. Claire Odland

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

In the highlands of Guatemala, indigenous Maya women are well known for their beautiful traditional dress, called traje. Women’s traje consists of a huipil (blouse or tunic), corte (skirt), faja (sash), and may include a distinctive headdress, shawl, apron, and overblouse as well. The huipil, usually brocaded by hand on a backstrap loom, is a traditional garment that continues to be popular and has great social significance. Changes in huipil fashion reflect political, economic, and social change

Morrales in Guatemala

Kathryn Rousso

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

As in many regions of the world, the indigenous people of Guatemala devised ways to make baskets and bags from local materials to carry and contain objects. One of these is called the morral (net bag), and it is still used by villagers living in rugged mountainous terrain where walking long distances is part of life. Their traje (traditional clothing) does not have pockets, and morrales are necessary to carry food, tools, clothing, and other items needed in the fields or market or on the journey.

Dress of Eastern Guatemala

Kathryn Rousso

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. Latin America and the Caribbean 2005

Encyclopedia entry

The land between Guatemala City, Honduras, and El Salvador is termed the Oriente (East). Characterized by low rolling hills with occasional eroded volcanic cones, it can be very hot and dry. The people living here represent a mix of Maya, Pipil, and ladino (a person of mixed blood who speaks Spanish, follows Spanish customs, and wears Western-style clothes). The Maya of this region are the Poqomám, and the Ch’orti’, both differing culturally from the Maya of the western highlands. When the Spanis

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